GAA coach jailed for abusing juvenile player

A GAA coach who sexually abused a star juvenile player was jailed for three years yesterday.

Seamus Kilroy, aged 57, who also played inter-county hurling for Roscommon, had denied three counts of indecently assaulting the 10-year-old boy in 1983.

However, a jury sitting at Roscommon Circuit Criminal Court had found him guilty on all three counts and sentencing was adjourned to the court sitting in Longford yesterday.

A farmer and electrical technician, Kilroy, of Clooneyourish, Athleague, Co Roscommon, was described by Judge Tony Hunt as “a pariah”. Evidence was heard at his trial of how he had taken 10-year-old Neil Connaughton in his car on the pretext of showing him a training video of the under-age parish hurling team.

But instead he took him down a country road and indecently assaulted him in a car and later in a field.

He subsequently indecently assaulted him in his van, before his victim told him to “fuck off”.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Connaughton — now aged 40 — waived his right to anonymity and told of the damage the abuse had caused in his life. He believed he had brought the abuse on himself by sending out some kind of signal and thought he was gay.

He later realised he was not and never had been gay.

He took to drinking at age 15, because alcohol numbed the pain and he drank heavily for a number of years. In 2007 he was hospitalised with liver failure and on his 35th birthday he was told he was losing his fight for life. But he recovered after 49 days in hospital and, with the support of his wife, he made a statement of complaint to gardaí in St John of God’s treatment centre in Dublin in 2010.

Judge Hunt noted Kilroy had shown no remorse and no recognition of the verdict. He continued to challenge Mr Connaughton’s version of events.


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